Game one is in the books, three more are left to go — at least during the preseason. When it comes to the New England Patriots, this means that there are three more chances for the coaching staff to evaluate a deep roster heading towards the regular season. The players, on the other hand, have three more opportunities to improve and state serious claims for roster spots. So far, most of them are off to a good start.
With few obvious exceptions, the team looked strong in all three phases during its 31-3 blowout win over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night. Head coach Bill Belichick echoed this sentiment during his postgame press conference: “We’re under way. First preseason game, played a lot of players, had a lot of situations come up. Had a lot of opportunities to do different things. We’ll evaluate all those in film tomorrow,” the future Hall of Famer noted.
“Just try to build on it. I thought our guys played competitively, so it was good,” he added. Belichick wouldn’t be Belichick, however, if he didn’t also point out that his team is nowhere near it needs to be to play successful football when the games start to really matter. “We have a long way to go. A lot of things we have to do better, but that’s this time of year. Just keep working.”
The next chance to build on yesterday’s game will come next week. After returning to New England, the team will fly to Tennessee to hold a second round of joint practices — again with a familiar opponent: the Titans under head coach and ex-Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel await. The sessions with Vrabel’s club present the next chance for the world champions to keep working on their 2019 version.
“We have a lot of work to do — coaching staff, players, just everything,” said Belichick. “Good to get back into it. Good to get things flowing, but a lot of things came up out there that we need to just handle a little bit better, a little quicker. It’s a decent start.”